Review of 2011: March
- Fri 30 Dec 2011, 12:40PM
- Posted by Alex Rowen
By the end of March, City fans would know a first visit to Wembley in 12 years awaited - but at the start of the month, the Blues still had two FA Cup rounds standing between them and the national stadium.
Aston Villa offered little resistance at the Etihad. City steamrolled to a 3-0 victory as goals from Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli and David Silva saw City set up an intriguing sixth-round visit from Brian McDermott’s Reading.
With the Championship outfit now the only possible stumbling block between City and a first FA Cup semi-final since 1981, pundits were tipping Roberto Mancini’s side to progress to the last four, but City fans know not to take any game for granted!
An air of excitement filled the ground ahead of kick off and that anticipation was only heightened when news of the semi-final draw swept through the stadium ... a Wembley meeting with Manchester United would be the victors' prize.
Fittingly, it was fans' favourite and academy graduate Micah Richards who scored the only goal of the tie to send a relieved City faithful into raptures.
Inflatable bananas bounced around a raucous Etihad as jubilant voices sang 'We’re going to Wembley'
Unfortunately there would be no such joy in the Blues’ Europa League campaign as Dynamo Kyiv dumped City out at the round of 16.
Having slipped to defeat in Ukraine – during a game in which Mario Balotelli suffered an allergic reaction to grass! - Mancini’s men were unable to overturn the two-goal deficit, despite winning 1-0 at the Etihad.
Balotelli again stole the headlines after receiving his marching orders in the first half.
Carlos Tevez & Co were left shivering by FIFA’s decision to ban the snood, but there was better news for Gareth Barry, who skippered England for the first time in a friendly with Ghana, and for promising midfielder Abdul Razak, who won his case to stay in the country one month after making his senior debut at West Brom.
March closed with a top-of-the-table trip to Stamford Bridge. Goals from Brazilian duo David Luiz and Ramires won the points for Chelsea as Mancini tasted defeat in London for the first time in nine visits to the capital.